dental care blog
Find great information, insights, tips and helpful information on how to keep your teeth healthy
Things happen. It’s part of life. But what do you do when, say, you injure a tooth? Many of us have a tendency to ignore dental emergencies for various reasons—maybe we have no time, maybe we don’t take it seriously, or maybe we don’t have the money to treat it. Dental problems, however, are just as important as health problems. In fact, studies show that the two are linked. Here’s a few examples of dental emergencies and how to handle them.
For a loose bracket on a set of braces, use the orthodontic wax that the dentist gave you to reattach the brace temporarily. You can also put a piece of the wax over the braces to cushion. If the wire on the braces breaks or is pushed into a position that is poking into you, use the eraser end (not the point!) of a pencil to push it into place, or at least to a more comfortable position. If you can’t move the wire, cover it with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or gauze and call your dentist immediately. Fight the urge to cut the wire, because you might accidentally swallow it or breathe it into your lungs.
If your crown falls off, make an emergency dental appointment and bring the crown with you. If your tooth is hurting, get clove oil (found at your local pharmacy) and apply it with a cotton swab to your tooth. Use dental cement or adhesive (or toothpaste, if you must) to keep the crown in place. Avoid super glue; it may cause more damage.
If you discover an infection, commonly known as an abscess, in your mouth, be very careful. If incorrectly treated, abscesses can cause a great deal of damage to your mouth and to your general health. This can happen when the infection spreads elsewhere. Abscesses often look like pimples—they’re swollen, filled with pus, and sensitive to the touch. To lessen the pain and help promote healing, rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide or salt water (1/2 tsp of salt to 1 cup of water) three times a day, minimum. Do NOT attempt to drain the infection yourself! Leave that to a dentist. We are your Sherwood Park Dentist.
If you sustain a cut in your mouth, for instance to your tongue, cheeks, gums or lips, you can usually treat the bleeding yourself. Rinse with salt water (recipe above). Try to get an ice pack on the outside of the mouth or cheek on the injured area. Moisten a piece of gauze, a paper towel, or a tea bag (this works the best) and put pressure on the wound. After a maximum of 10 minutes, remove the ice pack, but keep the pressure on the injury for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, get an emergency appointment with your dentist or go to an emergency room for help.
Dental emergencies will happen, regardless of how careful we are. The important thing to remember is what to do when they occur. With quick thinking and preparation, you can save your teeth and preserve your health for years to come.
You probably already know that smoking increases your risk of heart disease and cancer, but you should also be aware that cigarettes can destroy your oral health. If you smoke cigarettes, even regular brushing and flossing may not protect you from the dangers of this bad habit. Here, learn about the ways that smoking can harm your oral health.
Gum Disease and Tooth Loss
Smoking increases the risk of a serious gum disease called periodontitis. In a 2000 study in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found that compared to non-smokers, cigarette smokers were more likely to suffer from moderate or severe periodontitis, and they had higher rates of gum recession and more missing teeth than non-smokers. Study results showed that 25.7 percent of current smokers had periodontitis. This number dropped to 20.2 percent for former smokers and 13.1 percent for never-smokers.
Smoking is associated with tooth loss even in younger adults. In 2007, researchers for the journal BMC Public Health found that among adults aged 20-39, tooth loss was more common in current smokers than among former and never-smokers. The risk of tooth loss increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Dental Research, men who smoke between five and 14 cigarettes per day are twice as likely as never-smokers are to experience tooth loss. The risk is three times higher among those who smoke 45 or more cigarettes daily.
Smoking is also linked to tooth decay, or cavities. In 2015, researchers for the journal Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology discovered that young male smokers were significantly more likely to experience tooth decay. In a 2008 study of professional truck drivers, scientists for Caries Research found that exposure to tobacco was associated with more tooth decay. Specifically, study participants who smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day were more likely to have large cavities than were those who smoked one to three cigarettes daily.
Unfortunately, even secondhand smoke can contribute to tooth decay. A 2003 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that passive smoking was associated with increased risk of decayed teeth among children.
It should come as no surprise that cigarette smoking can increase the risk of oral cancers. A 2013 study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found that even lower levels of tobacco smoking increased the risk for cancer of the oral cavity.
Additional research has supported a link between smoking and oral cancer. In 2011, researchers for Oral Oncology found that being a smoker increased the risk of tongue cancer by 26 percent.
In addition to contributing to specific diseases, smoking can harm oral health by increasing bacteria levels. In a 2008 study in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, scientists found that cigarette smoke increased the growth of streptococcus bacteria.
Smoking can cause further damage by interfering with antioxidant activity in the mouth. Researchers for a 2008 publication of Bio-factors found that the presence of cigarette smoke decreased antioxidant levels in saliva. The researchers concluded that this could be the mechanism that links smoking to inflammatory diseases and the development of cancer.
Reducing the Risks
The research clearly indicates that cigarette smoking is associated with multiple oral health risks, including tooth decay, gum disease, and cancer. In fact, the authors of a 2001 report in the Journal of Dental Education have advised that smoking is responsible for half of the cases of gum disease and three-fourths of oral cancers that occur in the United States. Fortunately, these same authors have reported that the risks are reduced over time after smoking cessation. It is therefore vital that smokers engage in smoking cessation programs to protect their oral health.
Regular dental care can also play a role in risk reduction. For instance, the 2011 study in Oral Oncology found that having a regular dentist reduced the risk of mouth cancer by 16 percent. Routine dental care can make patients aware of potential problems before they become serious. Quality care, coupled with smoking cessation, can improve oral health considerably. If you are a smoker, now is the time to schedule a check-up and work with your healthcare providers to develop a plan for quitting.
Call Now: 587 410 5766
Dr. Alexander Yeh and Dr. Iyad Al-Qishawi are registered general dentists. They graduated in the same class at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Dentistry.
Edmonton Emergency Dental Services:
Pain and infection relief
Phone: 587 410 5766
Address: Suite #110 4445 Calgary Trail Southbound NW, Edmonton, AB T6H5R7